Ahhhh February. By the time you are reading this Valentine's Day will have been and gone with no more attention than you had the day before or day after (or maybe I'm wrong?) and I feel it is my duty to pull you out of the cynical romantic slump you've inevitably fallen into. I'm not trying to compete but I truly did know the most romantic man (if we can call him that...) ever.
It was the most romantic and endearing question I had ever been asked. Life changing. There were no flowers, no ring, but sheer determination to declare his love. I had just finished teaching when the unforgettable happened. In a sweet and sincere voice the words "Chloe... will you be my wife... " were spoken. I looked down to find my prince.
It was then that I giggled a little...
The truth? It was one of my dear little 4-year-olds looking sheepishly into my eyes, he was dead serious. There was no joking around, this little one meant business. He asked again. Dang, I was flattered. No one had ever asked me this (yet). I knelt down and gave him a hug and said "Maybe one day Patrick..."
His face lit up with joy as he bounced outside to go play in the sandpit. And this wouldn't be the last time. He was my very own knight in shining armour waiting in the wings. Alas romance is not dead.
Since these on-going proposals I was not only flattered (yes a 4-year-old wanting to marry me does give the ego a wee boost...) but also fascinated by this persistent child. There was no stopping him. Like clockwork on a Tuesday morning, our lesson would finish, cue proposal. I'm going to be honest... the day he turned 5 and left for school, I was a little upset.
Moreover, this child taught me a great lesson about faith. Not a complicated lesson on apologetics or suffering, but the kind of lesson Jesus tried to teach his disciples. A lesson in persistence. A lesson in not giving up. A lesson in running the good race.
To be honest, giving up sometimes is the easiest option. When you're lying on your couch having an 'accidental nap' (usually around 4pm?) sometimes church is the last place you want to be. When you're ready to run away in frustration and anger, sometimes an escape seems easier. If I'm honest this has been a struggle in my life, and I'm surely not the only one.
The struggle to keep pressing into God when I have so many unanswered questions, the struggle to keep turning up to church when I have been hurt, the struggle to be honest with someone (or God) in fear of their judgment. These struggles all have easy options of giving up, but, is it really worth it?
Do I run?
My experience tells me that doing a runner is sometimes just simple and easy â it's sticking around to fight the good fight that requires balls. Sorry, I mean courage. So why would we? But seriously, how many of us sit around with pros and cons lists about should we go to church or not instead of just getting off our bums to go and spend some time with Jesus in our community through whatever format that may be. I am extremely guilty in this case.
I have to ask myself a few questions, often.
Is it worth letting someone get in between you and your relationship with God?
Is it worth letting someone's judgment stop you from going to church?
Is it worth running away?
I have no clear cut answers to these questions but I do know that the my avoidance or running, instead of persisting, does not necessarily draw me closer to the only perfect love I'll ever know, Jesus. And that is not something I want to let go of in this hectic world.
What I know to be true
He's not going anywhere, in fact He hasn't moved an inch, but in my experience, when I stop persisting through the gunk, questions and hurt, I move a little bit further away from Him. And that can be painful. I know Jesus well enough now to know that even if I don't 'feel' close with Him or necessarily want to 'give myself' to Him he's not going anywhere. He will be waiting. He will be persisting.
So why won't I persist with Him? My darn pride. Sometimes I think I know better. My pride tells me that actually I don't need Jesus, I can hack it on my own. My pride tells me that I am invincible. There is something wrong with this picture as I puff myself up to prove to the world that I'm amazing, with or without Jesus.
And this is why my dear Patrick is teaching me a lesson every week. He completely humbled himself before asking me his endearing question. In his humility he is able to persist. He has a desired outcome, obviously, but if I don't say yes that day, he doesn't give up. He doesn't let his pride nurse the battle wound; instead he humbles himself again and persists.
This wee gentlemen has not yet figured out that we won't get married as I am 18 years his senior and there will not be a happily ever after. But the innocent proposals continue â he still sat next to me whenever we made a circle and ALWAYS offered to carry my rock heavy boom box. His persistence is unfailing. His persistence is the kind of love and persistence I hope to show people.
His persistence is the kind of persistence I attempt (very poorly sometimes...) to show my King. I don't want my story to be a story of being a runner; I want my story to be one of fighting and pushing on through.
I want my story and my relationship with Jesus to reflect a courage and persistence that continues to fight through the gunk and questions. Some days will be worse and some will be better but at least I know with Jesus persisting by my side I only have to meet him halfway.
Chloe Ogilvie runs her own dance school based in Auckland. She spends most of her time jumping up and down with pre-schoolers or training the next generation of dancers. With the spare time she has you will find her enjoying a coffee, doing some writing and catching up with friends.
Chloe Ogilvie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/chloe-ogilvie.html